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Lennart

Too perfect drums

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Hi! I know how to quantize. Now I want to do the opposite.

I have pasted in  a pattern grid from SI-drums. But it is too perfect. I know I can change it note by note. But is there a smarter and faster way to do it?

with regards

Lennart Hjelm

Sweden

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Thanks! So the right word was humanize.

So I hade to right-click on the piano roll/MIDI plugins/uncategorized/Quantize and it openeds Cakewalks Quantize MIDI FX.

If anyone has a better way to do it. Tell me.

 

Thanks

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Search for humanize on this forum.

There's a midifx for it in here somewhere.

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46 minutes ago, Kurre said:

Search for humanize on this forum.

There's a midifx for it in here somewhere.

Maybe this is what you are a thinking of

Also both Quantize and Velocity MFX plug-ins have a randomizing function (click F1 when the plug-ins have focus to bring up their help pages)

There is also at least one humanizing CAL script.

And there is a commercial humanizing plug-in available in Frank's MIDI Plug-Ins.

Another commercial plug-in NTONYX Style Enhancer Micro  includes styles for drums.

I have not messed around much with randomizing MIDI in this way.

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Maybe a good rhythm section (bass and guitar and piano) give the too perfect drums less obvious.

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The only thing guaranteed to make your drums sound just as fake as quantization is "humanization". Don't do it.

Someday, some clever programmer will invent a smart humanization tool, but it doesn't exist at the moment. Inserting random timing swings does not make the rhythm more human.

Yes, human drummers are naturally inconsistent compared to a PLL oscillator. But the variations are not random. A good drummer advances or retards hits in order to add excitement or to relax the groove. When hits don't land on the grid with microsecond resolution, it's for a musical purpose. A random number generator cannot do that.

If you want more natural-sounding drums, and learning to play drums or enlisting a real drummer are not options, you can still enter MIDI data by hand. You don't have to be a keyboard player, either. Anybody can tap their fingers. Watch this for some inspiration (note: the presenter is not a keyboard player). 

 

Here's something similar but using Cakewalk and SI-Drums:

 

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For your existing drum track, try this. In the PRV, click on the left pane to select every snare hit, and then hit Delete. Now record a new snare track and manually play along on your keyboard controller. Do it a few times and you'll gradually refine your timing to not only fit the song but to enhance it.

Don't have a keyboard? Pick up something like this for fifty bucks. What I don't recommend is using your computer's keyboard as demonstrated in the video above, because timing isn't the only factor in humanization. Velocity is just as important.

If deleting all your snare hits is too scary, mute them instead. That way, they'll still show up in the PRV as a guide but won't play.

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Don't own a set of digital drums? You don't need one. We have Drum Replacer = free. 

All you need is a surface to hit that sound remotely like the drum part you want and any microphone. 

Works best if you use real drumsticks. ( $ 10 ) 

Record the part and then use Drum Replacer to turn it into a midi track. 

I 100% agree with what Bitflipper just said and I was going to say the same. All those Humanizing features do is make it sound like you played real bad and forgot to edit it. Not sure who's idea it originally was but I think it's been responsible for a lot of real nasty sounding drum tracks. So the best way to humanize IS to play it in real time. 

Example is when I often use my digital drum kit I notice the snare is  just a hair early and this pushes the song. I like to make my Kick right on time as well as the Bass to match. But you can certainly push the snare a little. 

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Another tip: when you are hand-planting drum hits in the PRV, turn grid snap off. Some of them will be noticeably "off", and they can be nudged - using your ears, not the grid - to correct them.

One more: if you must quantize something, make it the kick. You can't advance the snare unless it has something to advance relative to. A steady kick sets up the listener's expectations when anticipating the next beat, so that when the snare or ride cymbal doesn't exactly coincide with the kick it'll have the desired effect.

And yes, as Cactus notes, you can "play" drums with nothing more than a drumstick and a microphone. Or even just your hands on the desk.

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I was just thinking that a great way to make a song more Natural would be to start with a live fee time part like guitar and vocals. Then drag that to the timeline to create a nice tempo map that breathes. I'm working with a bunch of live recording right now and I just love the way the tempo map is always moving up and down by just a little bit. You can actually see the choruses speed up a hair. 

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Posted (edited)

There is, but as has been pointed out, what timing and velocity variations are introduced by human drummers are intentional and consistent instead of random.

 

Having said this, the Humanize CAL works best with very small values. What you can do is leave the kick right on the beat and then nudge the snare slightly behind or ahead of the beat as is appropriate for the feel of the song. Then, you can apply very small amounts of "humanization" to them and then somewhat more to the hi hat & ride.

 

Also, when quantizing, you often get better results by reducing the strength and not quantizing too rigidity.

Edited by bdickens

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3 hours ago, bitflipper said:

The only thing guaranteed to make your drums sound just as fake as quantization is "humanization". Don't do it.

amen. "humanization"  = randomization which will just sound like an amateur on drums. 

keys are both timing -and- velocity. 

In addition to the comments above. 

2 hours ago, bitflipper said:

the kick. You can't advance the snare unless it has something to advance relative to

should also add the timing of the bass relative to the kick. might depend on the style, but can have a significant impact on the overall groove as its the connection to any melodic content.

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Didn't play with it for years now but I used to use the groove quantize with audiosnap transient markers with good results. I had the bass and drum tracks to be groove-matched so I simply extracted groove from one or more tracks that I liked and quantized other tracks with it. Need to be careful while doing it though.

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I may be on the hunt for some pads to push on with my fingers at some point soon, but I prefer to just do this the old fashioned way (is it really that old?)  I program all my drums by hand.  Once you get used to it, it's not hard.  I get things down the way I want them and then I begin to move things around.  I think about how many limbs I have as well and what is possible/impossible to do.  And sometimes I violate that rule for the sake of doing what I feel is right for that moment of the song.  When I'm moving things around, I'm thinking about the song and if I want to push or pull. 

Once I have that stuff done, I then begin to apply a tempo map of sorts.  If there's an interesting part of the verse, I may push the tempo a bit.  I may lay back.  I may speed up the chorus even though the song is at the same relative tempo.  

Once you get the hang of things, it becomes a lot easier.  And with more and more practice, you can program drums to sound about as realistic as programmed drums can sound.  Especially these days.

My two cents.

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Using a good multi-sampled drum synth, and getting natural velocity variation that takes advantage of it is arguably more important than micro-timing tweaks in making sequenced drums sound natural. That, and having elements of the pattern that evolve from measure to measure with significant pattern and kit piece changes for different sections and fills going and out of them. Plenty of drummers can and do play right on top of the beat with metronomic precision most of the time. It's their nuanced 'touch' with the resulting tonal and rhythmic effects, and constantly changing up some elements of the pattern, that make a drum part groove.

Personally, I'm horribly lazy when it comes to creating distinctively different patterns for the different sections or playing proper fills, but I do better with 'touch nuance' and 'evolution' by playing in parts in real time from a keyboard as bitflipper suggested, playing parts all the way through from end to end (or at least 16- to 32-measure chunks), and avoiding too much copy-pasting. I break these rules all the time, of course, but that's the ideal. ;^) 

I have also dabbled in using Jamstix, and have had good results mixing Jamstix patterns into my home-brewed parts. When doing that I'll thin out competing hits, but I don't really worry too much about whether a real drummer would be able to play it; real drummers might care, but your average listener only really cares if it sounds good. Using a pattern that was meant for a different time signature can also get really interesting... but I digress. ;^)

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Posted (edited)

I wanted to point out an alternative to randomization and approaches to "doing it yourself".   And that alternative is hiring a session drummer for your song.  I'm not here to push this business, I am a home recording musician and that's it.  But "Fiverr" has over 900 session drummers of varying talents and varying genres many of which will do your song for $20-$40.  

I haven't hired any drummers from it, but I regularly hire singers, lead guitarist and a pianist. Not for all my songs, but for those where I want to add something that I myself simply can't provide.

Here's a link to the session drummers on Fivrr.

By the way, Fivrr has a really good system in place to protect you the buyer- artists are paid after you approve what they provide you. So you are in control.  Most artists have samples of their work for you to judge.

Again, I have no connection to Fivrr other than I use them for singers,  guitarist and pianist.  If I ever decide I want real drums,  I will definitely use that service.

Just say'in.

 

Edited by Rickddd

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